Authors: Robert B. Parker
Tags: #General, #Fiction, #Detective, #Mystery, #Crime & mystery, #Mystery & Detective, #Fiction - Mystery, #Suspense, #Hard-Boiled, #Crime & Thriller, #Mystery & Detective - Hard-Boiled, #Mystery fiction, #Boston (Mass.), #Political, #Mystery & Detective - General, #Private investigators, #Spenser (Fictitious character), #Escapes, #Private investigators - Massachusetts - Boston
“YOU’RE MAKING PROGRESS,” IVES SAID. “BUT don’t think because you have the maiden back that you don’t have to slay the dragon.”
Hawk and I were walking on either side of Ives along the waterfront down Atlantic Avenue. Everywhere the mobility was upward.
“We’ll kill Costigan,” I said.
“You have abandoned considerable government property along the way so far,” Ives said. The trousers of his seersucker suit were cuffed at least two inches above the tops of his wing-tipped cordovans.
“Really fuck up the GNP,” Hawk said.
“Not the point,” Ives said. “The car, the weapons, they have to be accounted for.”
“We could skip killing Costigan,” I said, “and concentrate on recovering the stuff we left in Pequod.”
“Not funny, McGee,” Ives said.
We turned into the waterfront park near the new Marriott and walked to the edge and looked at the water.
“What is your plan,” Ives said.
“We were thinking about stopping in here at Tia’s and having some fried squid and a couple of beers,” I said.
Ives frowned and looked at me hard. “You work too hard at being a wise guy, Lochinvar.”
“It’s worth the effort,” I said.
“Man ain’t lazy,” Hawk said.
“Listen, both of you. You think you’re a couple of hard cases. I know. I’ve seen a lot of hard cases. Well, you two hard cases have your balls in a squeeze, you understand. You are in hock to us and we’re calling in the chit. You want to learn about how hard a case someone can be you keep fucking around with us. You’ll find yourself hanging out to dry in a slow wind.”
“Eek,” I said.
“Keep it up,” Ives said. “You’ve got Costigan on one side, and us on the other. You don’t know what pressure is if we start squeezing.”
“Here,” Hawk said. “Why don’t you just give this a gentle squeeze to show you’re serious.”
Ives’s face flushed and small dimples formed near the corners of his thin mouth. He breathed in a large lungful of salt air and let it out, turning to lean on one of the capstan posts that lined the edge of the harbor.
“You know Costigan will be after you,” Ives said in a voice tight with the obvious effort of control. “He’s got a contract out on both of you now, and he has an organization that can find you anywhere in the world.”
“We’ll kill Costigan,” I said.
“If you have any doubts remember that he’ll kill you if you don’t, and without us to back you up, you won’t.”
“With or without,” Hawk said.
“And what do I tell my people when they ask me your plan?”
“Tell them you don’t know,” I said.
“And how do I look telling them that? I’m supposed to be running you.”
“They think so,” Hawk said, “you think so, but we don’t think so.”
“And,” I said, “we don’t have a plan. Yet.”
“Well, you weren’t signed aboard this cruise to sit around and soak up per diem. Every unproductive day is another expense I have to justify to the shoo flies. They want some cost efficiency here.”
“We artists,” Hawk said. “We ain’t cost efficient.”
“Jesus Christ,” Ives said.
“We know something,” I said, “we’ll tell you. But if it helps, we will do it. Not only because it’s him or us, but because we said we would. We’ll kill him.”
“Well, it better be quick, or by God there’s going to be some accounting called for.”
“First we have to find him,” I said.
“He’s not at Mill River,” Ives said. “We can tell you that.”
“And he’s not here in Waterfront Park,” I said. “So that’s already two places we don’t have to look.
“Gonna be easy,” Hawk said.
“I know it’s not much, but it’s all we’ve got so far,” Ives said. “We get more we’ll let you know. But you’ve got to check in.”
“You people did pretty good in Pequod with the two instructors,” I said.
“We have our moments,” Ives said. “You guys didn’t do so bad either. The Transpan facility is a shambles. Connecticut State arson people are climbing all over it. Federal Immigration people are chasing illegal aliens all over Connecticut… hell, all over the Northeast. They will have many questions to ask Transpan.”
“What about the aliens,” Hawk said.
“You sound like Steven Spielberg,” Ives said and laughed.
Hawk didn’t say anything.
“We’ll do what we can,” Ives said. “Remember, we made no promises beyond doing what we could.”
A cycle cart selling chocolate chip ice-cream sandwiches cruised by us, turned in by the Marriott and set up shop near the railing along the water. A fat old woman with short hair was selling helium-filled balloons at the crosswalk on Atlantic Avenue. Ives was leaning on the capstan gazing at the cabin cruisers moored in the slip.
“How do you expect to find Costigan,” he said.
“We have a private intelligence service,” I said.
“Well, be sure that we coordinate,” Ives said. “We don’t want a lot of people churning around in the mud obliterating the footprints.”
“We’ll be careful,” I said.
Ives nodded, straightened, and turned toward Quincy Market.
“Tally ho the fox,” he said.
I nodded. Hawk nodded. Ives left, crossing Atlantic Avenue toward the market.
“You think the Russians maybe winning,” Hawk said.
“Maybe their people are worse,” I said.
“Hard to picture,” Hawk said.
SUSAN HAD SET UP RESIDENCE IN MY BEDROOM and I had moved in with Hawk. The safe house had twin beds in both bedrooms so nobody had to sleep with anybody. Even if somebody wanted to. Which they didn’t.
“I assume this is not because you prefer me,” Hawk said.
I was getting a clean shirt from the top drawer of the other bureau-a squat thing with a warping mahogany veneer and ugly glass knobs.
“There’s a book by a guy named Leslie Fiedler,” I said. “Claims guys like us are really repressing homoerotic impulses.”
“Doing a hell of a job of it too,” Hawk said. He was lying on the bed wearing a Sony Walkman with the earphones on.
“Who you listening to,” I said. I had the shirt on and was buttoning down the collar. Not easy with a lot of starch in the shirt.
“Mongo Santamaria,” he said.
“God bless the earphones,” I said and went out into the living room. Susan was on the couch reading Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession. I tucked my shirt in and sat on the couch beside her.
“Coffee?” I said. “Juice? A twelve-course breakfast elegantly prepared by me and gracefully served by me also?”
She dog-eared the page to mark her place and smiled at me.
“I’ve started water boiling,” she said. “Why don’t I make you breakfast?”
“Certainly,” I said. “Mind if I sit on the stool and gaze at you across the pass-through?”
“My pleasure,” she said.
In the kitchen she put coffee in the filter and poured boiling water over it. While it dripped she squeezed some orange juice and poured three glasses.
“Is Hawk decent,” she said.
“He’s dressed,” I said.
She took him a glass of juice and when she came back the coffee had dripped so she poured three cups and brought one to Hawk. She wore white linen shorts and a pink sleeveless shirt with a big collar. Her legs and arms were tan. She turned on the oven.
I drank my juice and took a sip of coffee. Susan got out cornmeal and eggs and milk. “No corn flour,” she said.
“I didn’t do the shopping,” I said. “This stuff is all government issue.”
She took out a bag of whole wheat flour. “We’ll make do,” she said. She put dry ingredients in a bowl, added milk and eggs, and began to stir it with a wire whisk. I drank some more coffee.
“I know I haven’t explained very much to you,” Susan said. She was stirring the batter briskly as she talked. Her back was to me.
“Plenty of time,” I said.
“Dr. Hilliard has impressed upon me that I can’t keep talking about everything, that I need to set some boundaries on myself, do you understand that?”
“No,” I said. “But I don’t need to.”
She lifted the whisk from the batter and watched carefully as the batter dripped back into the bowl. Then she shook her head and began to whisk it some more.
“When you came to San Francisco last year, I began to draw away from Russell.”
She held up the whisk again and watched and made a small nod and waited while the batter drained off it into the bowl.
“I couldn’t leave him but I tried to distance the relationship as a start.”
I got up and came around the counter and got some more coffee.
“And Russell knew at once what I was doing and he… he hung on tighter. He put a wiretap on my phone. He had some people watch me. He wouldn’t let me come to New York last winter to watch Paul perform.”
“How’d he stop you,” I said.
Susan greased the inside of a loaf pan, using one of those spray cans. She shook her head as she sprayed it. Then she put the can down and the loaf pan and turned and leaned her hips against the counter with her hands resting palm down on it. Her lower lip was very full. Her eyes were very blue and large.
“He said no,” she said.
The connection between us was palpable. It seemed almost to seal away the rest of the world, as if we were talking inside one of those sterile rooms that immune deficient children grow up in.
“That simple,” she said. “I couldn’t do something he told me not to.”
“What if you had?”
“Gone away? Even though he’d said no?”
“Yes. Would he or his people have prevented you?”
I could see Susan’s top teeth, white against her tan, as she worried her lower lip. I drank some of my coffee.
“No,” she said.
She stirred her batter once and then poured it into her loaf pan, scraping the sides of the bowl to get it all.
“That’s when I went back to Dr. Hilliard,” she said.
“Yes. I started seeing her not long after I left Boston. But Russell didn’t like it. He doesn’t approve of psychotherapy. So I stopped.”
Susan held the loaf pan as she talked, as if she’d forgotten it.
“But when I couldn’t go to New York, and I realized I couldn’t leave him and I couldn’t move in with Russell, and I knew that I couldn’t give you up, I went back to her.”
She looked down at the loaf pan and stared at it for a moment, and then opened the oven and put the pan in and closed the door.
“And Russell?” I said.
“He was angry when he found out.”
Susan shrugged. “Russell loves me. Whatever he may be elsewhere he has always been loving to me. I know you have other opinions of him, but…”
“Both our opinions are rooted in our experience,” I said. “Both of them are true, it’s just that we’ve had different experiences.”
She smiled at me again. “It can’t be pleasant for you to hear me tell you that he’s loving,” she said.
“I can hear what is,” I said. “All of what is. Whatever it is.”
Susan took a Cranshaw melon from the counter and began cutting it into crescents.
“Dr. Hilliard has shown me that what I feel for Russell, and what he feels for me, is not simply affection. When I met him he appealed to me most because he was so entirely in love with me. Anything I wanted, anything I said. He was like a child. He just loved me to death.”
“Sort of dangerous child,” I said.
“Yes,” Susan said. “It was part of his appeal.”
“The kind of love you deserved?”
“You found a way to both leave me,” I said, “and punish yourself for leaving me.”
Susan scraped melon seeds from the fresh-cut crescents into the sink.
“And Russell,” I said.
“I’m older than he is,” Susan said.
I nodded. Susan rinsed the seeds into the disposal with the spray attachment.
“And I belonged, for lack of a better word, to another man,” she said.
“Me,” I said.
“So what,” I said.
“What other woman in his life would that describe?”
I thought of Tyler Costigan sitting in her elegant Luke Front penthouse talking of Russell’s “fat little momma.”
I drank a little more of my coffee. “Hello Jocasta,” I said.
“Dr. Hilliard convinced me that I needed to be alone, to experience myself, to stay away from you and to stay away from Russell.”
“But you couldn’t quite manage on your own, so you called Hawk,” I said.
“I was afraid,” Susan said. “I wasn’t sure Russell would let me. I think if I had told him I was going away he’d have done nothing to prevent me. But he wasn’t going to let anyone help me do it.”
“So Hawk came,” I said.
“And you know the rest,” Susan said. She placed each crescent on the chopping block and carefully cut the rind away.
“Well, some of the rest,” I said.
Susan nodded. She found some green seedless grapes in the refrigerator and rinsed them under the faucet in the sink and put them in a colander to drip dry.
“I don’t understand it all yet either,” Susan said. “I need to get back to San Francisco and see Dr. Hilliard.”
“Someone around here wouldn’t do it?” I said.
“We’d have to start over,” Susan said. “No. I’m too far along with Dr. Hilliard to leave her now.” Susan took a wedge of Muenster cheese out of the refrigerator and began to slice it thin with a. big-bladed carving knife.
“Can you sit tight until we get this thing settled with Jerry Costigan?”
“I won’t sit tight,” Susan said. “I will help you settle it.”
I nodded. “Yes,” I said. “That would be good.” I could smell the corn bread beginning to bake. Susan arranged her slices of cheese alternately on a large plate with her crescents of Cranshaw melon. She left the middle open.
“I don’t know when I’ll be able to sleep with you,” she said.
“Champagne’s as sweet,” I said, “whenever you drink it.”
Susan put the green grapes in the center of the plate. Hawk came from the bedroom still wearing his Walkman, poured some more coffee in his cup, looked at each of us and went back in the bedroom. Susan poured the rest of the pot into my cup and made some more.
“How are you going to find him?” she said.
“Rachel Wallace is coming up later and we’re going to talk about that. She’s been doing research for me. It’s how we found him the first time.”
“He’s an absolutely awful man,” Susan said. She opened the oven door and looked in carefully, studied the corn bread and then closed the door and straightened up.
“And his wife is worse,” she said.
“Russell’s wife said somewhat the same thing,” I said.
“You’ve seen her?”
“Yes,” I said. “She said Mrs. Costigan senior jerked her husband and son around any way she wanted.”
Susan nodded. “I have never met Tyler. She must hate me.”
“Yes,” I said.
“When Rachel Wallace comes,” Susan said, “I’ll sit in. Perhaps I can help by comparing notes with her.”
“Okay,” I said.
Susan checked the oven. This time she took the corn bread out and sat it on a rack. She set out three plates and knives and forks and white paper napkins. She put a hot plate out on the counter too, and put the second pot of coffee on it. Then using potholders she inverted the loaf pan and gently eased the corn bread onto a platter and put it on the counter next to the coffee.
“You’re willing to help me kill Russell’s father?” I said.
“Yes,” she said.
“You understand why?” I said.
“Partly,” Susan said. She walked to the door of the bedroom. “Breakfast,” she said to Hawk. He appeared in the door minus his Walkman.
“Could y’all put it on a tray, missy, and bring it in to me?” he said.
Susan smiled with all her warmth and force. “No,” she said.